Jason & Shannon

The Belgarde’s Jason, Shannon, big sister Taylor, Declan and Delaney (16 months old)

November 11, 2014, was one of the happiest days of our lives

– it’s the day we found out we were finally pregnant! My husband and I were so excited that we were going to be adding another member to our family, only to find out several weeks later that we were actually going to be adding TWO new members to our family — I was pregnant with twins!   It was a very routine, healthy pregnancy until I hit the 32/33-week mark, as that is when I started feeling the effects of carrying two babies in my belly.  My legs and feet started to swell horribly, however I was lucky and was still able to go to work.  When I hit my 33 week mark though, my blood pressure started to get quite high, so I was admitted in the hospital for a couple of nights to get that under control and then my doctor required I go on bed rest until the twins’ arrival.

My bed rest time didn’t last very long though, as my water broke at the beginning of my 34th week…  It was time!!! After being in labor for more than 8 hours, our precious twins, Declan and Delaney, were born!  June 7, 2014, six weeks earlier than their due date.  Declan weighed 4 pounds and 3 ounces and Delaney weighed 3 pounds and 13 ounces. We were lucky in the fact that they were both healthy when they were born, however they still needed to stay in the NICU at Mercy for a while.

Luckily, the twins didn’t need to be on oxygen, however they both had to have feeding tubes since they weren’t developed enough to understand the suck and swallow technique so that they could eat on their own.  We were extremely lucky.

We had a lot of long days and nights, just sitting in our room in the NICU, watching our babies lay in their incubators (instead of the cribs that were waiting for them at home), hoping and praying for the doctor to see progress and tell us it was finally time to take our babies home.  One of the hardest things for us to do was to take one of them home before the other one, but we got through it and the staff was very accommodating and let us bring Delaney in to visit with Declan until he finally got to go home too. Our baby girl, Delaney was released on June 20th, at 13 days old, and our baby boy, Declan was released on June 24th, at 17 days old.

We look back now and realize just how fortunate we were with regards to our finances, the proximity to the NICU and of course two premature babies that did not require surgeries or have any more significant medical conditions. Our story certainly could have had a very different outcome as we learned from other mothers and fathers in the unit whose children faced longer NICU stays and more pediatric surgeries. The amount of financial and emotional stress these families are forced to endure is nearly unimaginable yet each of them is able to crack a smile at the mention of their new child’s name. We always wanted to be able to make their smile last longer even if just for a moment and this is why we believe in supporting Cradling New Life who we are certain will be able to extend many more smiles than by ourselves alone.

Jason & Shannon Belgarde